The Brazilian Army sergeant, Lightweight Thiago “Minu” Meller (18-5),  has a date and opponent for the biggest international challenge of his career. Minu steps into the XFC cage on February 8 to measure forces against American  “Insane” Dave Courchaine (16-6). Unlike Minu, who’s coming off of 4 international triumphs, Courchaine who was riding an 8 fight win streak, was defeated by XFC Brazilian Welterweight Fighter Luis “Sapo” Santos last June. That didn’t stop Courchaine, who dropped to the XFC Lightweight division and rebounded in December with a dominant knockout of Alex Trevino in the 2nd round of XFC 27 in Michigan. He now sets to face his next test, in international territory.

“There will be no easy fights, when our organization is involved in the matchmaking. That is something I have told our fighters all along” said XFC President John Prisco. “Dave Courchaine is one of our most talented U.S. fighters and Thiago Meller is a highly skilled Brazilian fighter. The two will present some very dangerous oppositions for one another. What an exciting fight headlining our debut show in Latin America, on Rede TV!”

“Insane” Dave Courchaine will be the first XFC North America fighter to head south under the XFC banner, as the promotion expands their reach internationally showcasing their fights on the largest open broadcast television network in Brazil; Rede TV! Courchaine’s goal to show the XFC that he is worthy of a title shot with Fighter of the Year – XFC Lightweight Champion Scott “Hot Sauce” Holtzman, could be just a few rounds away. However, Meller will certainly not go away quietly.

 

(PRESS RELEASE) Las Vegas, Nevada – In a move set to make history, The Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) announced Saturday evening that it will feature women as coaches on the 18th season of The Ultimate Fighter®, its long-running reality series. Newly minted UFC bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, will coach opposite the winner, and eventual title contender, of a fight between Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano set for The Ultimate Fighter Finale on April 13 in Las Vegas, Nev.

UFC President Dana White’s announcement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvgCiOHHhX8

Earlier this year, the UFC announced Rousey as the first-ever female fighter signed to the organization. She cemented her position as UFC champion and baddest woman on the planet with an impressive win against Liz Carmouche at UFC® 157 in Anaheim, Calif.

On April 13, former Strikeforce bantamweight women’s champion Miesha Tate will square-off against highly touted, undefeated contender Cat Zingano in the second women’s bout in UFC history. The winner will ultimately join Rousey as coach to the newest class of bantamweights – living and training together – vying for the title of The Ultimate Fighter and a six–figure contract with the UFC. 

Tryouts for season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter will take place on Monday, April 15 in Las Vegas, Nev. All TUF 18 candidates must be at least 21 years old, have the legal ability to live & work in the United States, and have a minimum of three professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fights – holding a winning record (with verifiable records).

Tryout details will be released on Monday, March 18. TUF 18 is expected to debut in the fall of 2013.

Meanwhile, tickets for season 17’s The Ultimate Fighter® Finale are on-sale now. To purchase tickets to the April 13th event at Mandalay Bay Events Center, or for more information, visit the Mandalay Bay Events Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, www.ticketmaster.com, or charge-by-phone at 800.745.3000.

Catch all new episodes of this season of The Ultimate Fighter 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

(PRESS RELEASE) Newport Beach, CA. – The Toughest Tournament in Sports will end its season in style as Bellator MMA makes return to Atlantic City from Revel on April 4th live on Spike. The night will feature reigning Bellator Featherweight Champion Pat Curran putting his title on the line against Season 7 Tournament winner and explosive Russian striker Shahbulat Shamhalaev, while the Middleweight and Featherweight Tournaments will be decided, as Doug Marshall battles Brett Cooper for the $100,000 Middleweight Tournament Championship, while Mike “The Marine” Richman will square off with Frodo Khasbulaev, with the winner earning their guaranteed title shot. The night will also feature the return of fan favorite and former Judo Olympian Rick Hawn, who meets fellow Judo blackbelt and former WEC Champion Karo Parisyan in a welterweight affair.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and by calling 800-745-3000. The Main Card will broadcast LIVE starting at 10 p.m. EST on Spike, as well as in Spanish language on mun2. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.com, with doors to event opening at 6:30pm EST.

Widely regarded as one of the top two featherweights in the world, Curran brings a dominating 18-4 record into his latest title defense, including victories over Patricio Pitbull, Marlon Sandro, Roger Huerta, and Mike Ricci. While the reigning Bellator Champ had his original sights set on Straus, Curran is well aware of the challenges at hand April 4th with Shamhalaev.

“He’s a great counter striker, as am I, and I see a lot of openings with Shabulat,” Curran said. “Shabulat brings one punch knockout power, and with my style, it’s going to be a swing for fences fight. This is my second fight this season, and I couldn’t ask for more. I love staying active, and Bellator has provided that for me.”

Widely considered one of the best lightweights in the world, Rick “Genghis” Hawn returns to his more natural 170 lbs. to battle Karo Parisyan in a highly anticipated affair.

“I’m really excited to be back fighting so soon,” Hawn said. “I have a tough opponent in Karo, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. With two of the world’s best judoka fighters fighting each other, it should be an exciting fight.”

The preliminary card will be highlighted with a middleweight showdown between New Jersey star Tom DeBlass and New York native Carlos Brooks as the two look to collect their first Bellator victory. After announcing his retirement in 2012, DeBlass has returned to the cage and will make his highly anticipated return April 4th inside Revel.

“I’m very excited to be fighting for Bellator right in my backyard,” DeBlass said. “All of my friends, family, students, and many fans will get to see me live. I’m coming back and making a statement, you can count on that.”

The full card for Bellator MMA from Revel on April 4th is below:

MAIN CARD:

Bellator Featherweight World Title Fight: Pat Curran vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev

Bellator Middleweight Tournament Finals: Brett Cooper vs. Doug Marshall

Bellator Featherweight Tournament Finals: Mike Richman vs. Frodo Khasbulaev

Welterweight Feature Fight: Rick Hawn vs. Karo Parisyan

PRELIMINARY CARD:

Welterweight Feature Fight: Lyman Good vs. Dante Rivera

Women’s Feature Fight: Munah Holland vs. Jessica Eye

Catchweight Feature Fight(140 lbs.): Jimmie Rivera vs. Brian Kelleher

Welterweight Feature Fight: Sam Oropeza vs. Shedrick Goodridge

Middleweight Feature Fight: Tom DeBlass vs. Carlos Brooks

Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Liam McGeary vs. Anton Talamantes

Featherweight Feature Fight: Brylan Van Artsdalen vs. Brett Martinez

(PRESS RELEASE) Newport Beach, CA. – The Toughest Tournament in Sports continues as The Finals of the $100,000 Lightweight and Light Heavyweight Tournaments will be decided as Bellator MMA returns the Sunshine State March 28th from The University of South Florida’s Sun Dome live on Spike TV, as well in Spanish language on mun2. The night will also feature the Florida return on fan favorite and World’s #1 ranked 115 pounder Jessica “Jag” Aguilar.

Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, by visiting the Sun Dome Box Office and at all Ticketmaster outlets including Wal-Mart. Ticket prices range from $30 – $120.

Only 24, “The Caveman” David Rickels enters the Lightweight Tournament Finals with his sights set on that $100,000 Tournament prize. Known for his tenacious, grinding style, Rickels is fully aware of what his challenger brings to the table.

“I’ve got all the respect in the world for Saad,” Rickels said. “The guy has two huge knockouts in this tournament, but not too many men have been able to stand with the Caveman, and that’s not going to change March 28th.”

Calling Awad’s two knockouts “huge” may be an understatement, as the California native has spent just 74 seconds inside the Bellator cage this season with first round finishes over Guillaume DeLorenzi and Will Brooks. With both challengers bringing a frenetic pace to the cage, fireworks should be in order March 28th.

The Light Heavyweight Finals are set as a pair of giant slayers enter the cage as Mikhail Zayats, the proud owner of a TKO victory over MMA legend Babalu Sobral battles “The Hardcore Kid” Emanuel Newton, who punched his ticket to the finals with a spinning back fist victory over tournament favorite King Mo.

“I shocked the world once, and I’ll do it again March 28th,” Newton said. “After this tournament, everyone is going to know who Emanuel Newton is, and I’m going to be coming for that belt.”

For Aguilar, the 14-4 submission ace brings an impressive resume into the Sun Dome with victories over Megumi Fujii, Carla Esparza and Lisa Ellis. With a five-fight win streak in place, the veteran Aguilar is looking to keep the momentum going with a victory over Patricia Vidonic March 28th.

“Bellator is my home and I can’t wait to get back into the cage in front of all my friends, family and fans and continue to show the world I’m the best female fighter on the planet,” Aguilar said.

The full card for Bellator MMA’s March 28th event is below:

MAIN CARD:
Lightweight Tournament Finals: David Rickels vs. Saad Awad
Light Heavyweight Tournament Finals: Emanuel Newton vs. Mikhail Zayats
Welterweight Feature Fight: Luis Melo vs. Trey Houston

PRELIMINARY CARD:
Featherweight Feature Fight: Joe Taimanglo vs. Shah Bobonis
Female Feature Fight: Felice Herrig vs. Heather Clark
Female Feature Fight: Jessica Aguilar vs. Patricia Vidonic
Heavyweight Feature Fight: Rob Horton vs. Augusto Sakai
Lightweight Feature Fight: Bruno Carvalho vs. Edson Berto
Welterweight Feature Fight: Ivan Devalle vs. Rory Shallcross
Lightweight Feature Fight: Patrick Cenoble vs. Tony Fryklund
Welterweight Feature Fight: Julien Williams vs. Kenny Moss

(PRESS RELEASE) REVEL BEACH, N.J. – World Series of Fighting announced exciting Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) undercard action today, featuring local product Kris McCray (8-4) of Toms River, N.J. in a middleweight (185 pounds) scrap against battle-tested Danillo “Indio” Villefort (13-4) of Coconut Creek, Fla., and Waylon Lowe (13-4) of Philadelphia, Pa. squaring off with Cameron Dollar (11-4) of Colorado Springs, Colo. in a featherweight (145 pounds) tilt, from Ovation Hall atRevel in Atlantic City, N.J. on Saturday, March 23.

No strangers to Atlantic City, having fought there nine times (combined) professionally, Ozzy Dugulubgov (3-1) of Hackensack, N.J. will go up against undefeated prospect Chris Wade (5-0) of Long Island, N.Y. in a catchweight (160 pounds) bout.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and welterweight (170 pounds) upstart Igor Gracie (5-3) of Rio de Janeiro will face Rich Patishnock (4-1) of Whippany, N.J.

The six-bout preliminary card will be topped by a featherweight collision between streaking Duke Roufus protégé Rick “The Gladiator” Glenn (12-2) of Milwaukee, Wisc., and undefeated submission specialist Alexandre”Pulga” Pimentel (12-0) of Rio de Janeiro.

A stacked main card will be televised live on NBC Sports Network, headlined by the heavyweight showdown between superstars Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski (19-9) of Minsk, Belarus and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (15-3) of Boca Raton, Fla.

In the bantamweight (135 pounds) co-main event, red-hot 29-year-old star Tyson Nam (12-4) of Portland, Ore., will face off with two-time national Muay Thai champion and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt Marlon Moraes (9-4) of Jupiter, Fla., via Nova Friburgo, Brazil.

“We are excited to bring the World Series of Fighting brand of MMA to Atlantic City, where some of the greatest fights in history have taken place,” said World Series of Fighting President and six-time world kickboxing champion and two-time Hall of Famer, Ray Sefo.  “Andrei Arlovski, Anthony Johnson and Marlon Moraes are all coming off superb performances on our inaugural fight card, and Tyson Nam has been on fire of late, so we felt that it was essential to showcase these stars at the top of our first card on the East Coast.”

Also slated for action on the five-bout TV card are welterweight sensation Josh Burkman (24-9) of Salt Lake City, Utah, who will collide with former UFC star Aaron “A-Train” Simpson (12-4) of Phoenix, Ariz., and former PRIDE Fighting Championships superstar and WEC championPaulo Filho (23-4) of Rio de Janeiro, who will face off with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt David Branch (11-3) of Brooklyn, N.Y., in a middleweight bout.

Explosive finisher J.Z. Cavalcante (16-6) of Deerfield Beach, Fla., via Brazil, will take on unbeaten, emerging star Justin Gaethje (7-0) of Greeley, Colo., at lightweight (155 pounds).

Coming off his second consecutive victory, a unanimous decision over Mike “300” Hayes Dec. 16, Arlovski, a 33-year-old, 6-foot-4-inch, former UFC heavyweight champion, shined in the main event of the inaugural World Series of Fighting card Nov. 3 in Las Vegas, crumbling fellow power puncher Devin Cole with a barrage of blows in the first round (2:37).

Likewise, the 28-year-old, 6-foot-2-inch Johnson dominated D.J. “Da Protégé” Linderman in the first-ever World Series of Fighting co-main event, scoring a first-round (3:58) KO of Linderman with a punch.  The victory was Johnson’s fourth straight.

Nam made waves Aug. 25 when he pulled off a stunning upset on reigning Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas, scoring a first-round (1:36) KO (punch) in a non-title bout in Brazil.  Nam will put a four-fight win streak on the line in his World Series of Fighting debut.

The 24-year-old Moraes shocked the world on the first World Series of Fighting card, beating former WEC champion Miguel Torres to the punch repeatedly for the majority of three rounds en route to being being awarded a split decision victory.  The win was Moraes’ third straight.

Tickets, priced from $39, are on sale and available for purchase at all Ticketmaster locations (800-745-3000) and at Ticketmaster.com.

Doors at Ovation Hall at Revel will open at 5:30 p.m. EST and the first preliminary card bout will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The live NBC Sports Network telecast of the World Series of Fighting event will begin at 9:30 p.m. EST/6:30 p.m. PST.

(PRESS RELEASE) CAGE Warriors Fighting Championship has secured the signature of top English welterweight Che Mills.

The UFC veteran has put pen to paper on an exclusive five-fight contract, committing his immediate future to the organisation.

Mills (15-5-0-2nc) has spent the last two years of his career with the UFC, where he clocked up a 2-1-0-1 record.

The 30-year-old Gloucester native made a winning start to his UFC career in November 2011, picking up a KO of the Night bonus after taking just 40 seconds to dispose of Chris Cope.

In his only official UFC defeat, Mills suffered a second-round TKO loss to fourth-ranked welterweight Rory McDonald last April but rebounded with a win over Duane Ludwig in Nottingham in September.

At UFC on Fuel TV 7 at London’s Wembley Arena last month, Mills was beaten by Matt Riddle by split decision, but the result was later overturned as a ‘no contest’ after Riddle failed a drug test.

“Che Mills is the best UK welterweight outside of the UFC at the moment so I’m extremely happy that he has decided to come on board,” said Cage Warriors CEO Graham Boylan.

“A fighter of his calibre wouldn’t have been short of offers but the fact that Che has opted to sign for Cage Warriors is proof that the guy is determined to return to the top. I have no doubt that he’ll get there too.

“I’m a big fan of Che Mills. When the UFC recently released a bunch of guys, Che was the one I really wanted to bring in. He comes from a great camp and is always exciting to watch.

“As is the case with all fighters, I believe Cage Warriors is the perfect platform to help Che to achieve his goals and show the world that they still haven’t seen the best of him.”

A contestant on season nine of The Ultimate Fighter, Mills previously fought for CWFC in October 2010, when he scored a unanimous decision win over fellow UFC veteran Jake Hecht at Cage Warriors 38. He also holds two notable wins over Bellator star Marius Zaromskis.

Che Mills will make his return to Cage Warriors action in the coming months. Details of his next bout will be released shortly.

(PRESS RELEASE) Las Vegas, Nevada – Fresh off a brilliant submission victory over Ivan Menjivar at UFC 157, “The California Kid” Urijah Faber returns to the Octagon® Saturday, April 13 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas to meet Scott Jorgensen in a can’t-miss bantamweight showdown.

Faber, the former WEC featherweight champion ranked second in the bantamweight division, is known for his explosive athleticism and finishing ability, and the 33-year-old Sacramento native owns wins over the likes of Jens Pulver (twice), Raphael Assuncao, Takeya Mizugaki, Eddie Wineland and Brian Bowles.

A three-time Pac-10 wrestling champion at Boise State University, the 30-year-old Jorgensen defeated John Albert in a performance that earned him Fight and Submission of the Night honors in his most recent bout this past December. “Young Guns” also holds notable victories over Jeff Curran and Brad Pickett and has developed a reputation as one of the division’s most exciting fighters.

“Urijah Faber is one of the best bantamweights in the world and he proved it at UFC 157 by submitting Ivan Menjivar in the first round,” UFC President Dana White said. “He’s ready to jump right back in the Octagon on April 13 with Scott Jorgensen, who’s ranked seventh in the world at 135 pounds. Both of these guys like to finish fights. This is a really exciting main event for the TUF Finale!”

In addition to the Faber-Jorgensen main event, this season’s The Ultimate Fighter® winner will be crowned when the Octagon® makes its way back to the Mandalay Bay Events Center. The Ultimate Fighter® Finale card also includes:

·Former Strikeforce bantamweight women’s champion Miesha Tate vs. highly touted, undefeated contender Cat Zingano in the second women’s bout in UFC history.

·A heavyweight showdown between Travis Browne and Gabriel Gonzaga.

·A featherweight collision between Bart Palaszewski and Cole Miller.

·A featherweight bout between TUF veteran Justin Lawrence and Houston’s Daniel Pineda.

Tickets for The Ultimate Fighter® Finale go on sale Friday, March 8 at 10 a.m. PT and are priced at $200, $125, $75 and $50. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit the Mandalay Bay Events Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, www.ticketmaster.com, or charge-by-phone at 800.745.3000.

(PRESS RELEASE) The Maximum Fighting Championship, one of the world’s premier mixed martial arts organizations, is excited to announce four major bouts for MFC 37: True Grit taking place on Friday, May 10.

Airing live on AXS TV Fights from the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, MFC 37 will be headlined by a showdown for the Maximum Fighting Championship’s heavyweight title as Smealinho “The Prince” Rama takes on Chris “Beast Boy” Barnett.

MFC 37 will also mark the debut of the Maximum Fighting Championship’s new bantamweight (135-pound) division, and sparking that launch will be a clash of hot prospects as Anthony Birchak squares off against Ryan “Baby Face” Benoit.

Two more fights have also been finalized. In middleweight action, surging title hopeful Jason “The Savage” Zentgraf will face the biggest test of his career as he meets judo and jiu-jitsu talent Luke “Hayabusa” Harris. And in a hotly anticipated lightweight clash, Kurt “The Hurt” Southern takes on “The Afrikan Assassin” Mukai Maromo.

“Our last few events have demonstrated the priority we have put on exciting fights, and I fully expected MFC 37 to keep that momentum going in a big way,” said Mark Pavelich, Owner/President of the Maximum Fighting Championship.

“I’m excited to have Smealinho Rama and Chris Barnett battle for the heavyweight title, and I am really anticipating an electrifying debut of the bantamweight division with Anthony Birchak and Ryan Benoit. And of course, having guys like Jason Zentgraf, Luke Harris, Kurt Southern, and Mukai Maromo already signed and ready to work tells me that MFC 37 is going to keep our streak of fantastic shows rolling right along.”

For the first time since 2007, the Maximum Fighting Championship will crown a new heavyweight champion when Rama (Twitter: @SmailRama) collides with Barnett (Twitter: @Beastboy61).

Rama (6-0) is currently ranked 33rd in the world and had a spectacular 2012 campaign during which he was named Fight Matrix’s Rookie of the Year and received the MFC’s Submission of the Year. The 20-year-old from Calgary, Alberta, is coming off the sixth straight first-round victory of his burgeoning career with his knockout win over Mike Hackert at MFC 36.

Not only did Rama blast through Hackert in only 2:28, but the lightning-quick big man steamrolled through his other two opponents in MFC action, needing less than five minutes combined to finish those two bouts.

Fighting out of Tampa, Florida, Barnett (7-1) is ranked 50th in the world, and has notched five wins by way of knockout. The 26-year-old, who has won two straight fights, will be making his organizational debut at MFC 37.

A former football player with the University of South Florida, Barnett, who was born in Zaragoza, Spain, is a black belt in tae kwon do and also an extensive background in wrestling and jiu-jitsu.

 

Rising prospects collide in the MFC’s inaugural bantamweight bout

Anthony Birchak (9-1) was the first fighter signed to the MFC’s promising 135-pound division, and the Tucson, Arizona, product will tangle with Ryan “Baby Face” Benoit (6-1). Birchak has won three straight bouts all by knockout after opening his career with five of six victories coming via submission.

Birchak (Twitter: abirchakMMA) joins the MFC fresh off a first-round destruction of Matt Leyva, needing only 1:22 to register the third knockout of his career.

But fast-rising sensation Benoit, who fights out of Dallas, Texas, is also on a roll, having put four straight wins under his belt. Four of Benoit’s career wins were notched inside the opening round, and he has needed less than 5:30 minutes combined to put away his last three opponents.

Benoit (Twitter: babyfacebenoit) should be a familiar face to AXS TV Fights viewers having previously fought three times on MFC’s broadcast partner.

 

Middleweight fight with title ramifications

In two fights under the MFC banner, Jason Zentgraf (7-1) has racked up a pair of tidy submission wins, and the Missoula, Montana, fighter has his eyes set upon a shot at MFC middleweight champion Elvis Mutapcic.

To get that opportunity, Zentgraf (Twitter: @JasonZentgraf) will need to get past divisional stalwart Luke Harris (9-2) who is coming off his own title eliminator bout – a first-round submission loss to onetime challenger Joseph Henle at MFC 34.

Most recently, Zentgraf took a second-round submission win via armbar over Clay Davidson at MFC 36. Following a career-opening loss, Harris, who will have the home-town advantage fighting out of Edmonton, Alberta, rattled off nine straight wins before his loss to Henle. In addition to his stellar list of judo accomplishments, Harris (Twitter: @HayabusaHarris) recently added a black belt in jiu-jitsu to his resume.

 

Lightweights at the forefront

After both suffered losses at MFC 36, Kurt Southern (10-4) and Mukai Maromo (8-3) will be looking to get back to winning ways at MFC 37.

This will be a rematch between the two from a matchup back in 2010 in which Southern captured a first-round submission via triangle choke.

Southern (Twitter: @KurtSouthern), who fights out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, dominated the opening two rounds against Jonatas Novaes with a combination of strikes and wrestling prowess. But Novaes escaped with the win, capturing his opponent in a tapout-enducing armbar in Round 3 which snapped Southern’s three-fight winning streak.

Maromo (Twitter: @AfrikanAssassin) was also submitted at MFC 36 but under even greater circumstances. The native of Zimbabwe who fights out of Edmonton, Alberta, had proclaimed himself to be the uncrowned champion of the MFC’s lightweight division, but he was tapped out via North-South choke by Graham “Cracka” Spencer in the third round of their title bout.

The loss ended an impressive run for Maromo who earned his second straight MFC Fight of the Year in 2012 along with the MFC Knockout of the Year plus Inside MMA’s Rising Star Award.

Two more fights will be announced shortly for the MFC 37: True Grit main card, along with a sizeable undercard featuring numerous local standouts.

Tickets for MFC 37: True Grit are on sale now via the MFC Ticket Hotline by calling (780) 504-2024 or by going to www.ticketmaster.ca.

(PRESS RELEASE) Newport Beach, CA. – After a dominating run through The Toughest Tournament In Sports with three knockouts in his three tournament fights, explosive Russian striker Shahbulat Shamhalaev has earned his title shot and will battle reigning Bellator Featherweight World Champion Pat CurranThursday, April 4th inside Atlantic City’s Revel Casino live on Spike.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and by calling 800-745-3000. The Main Card will broadcast LIVE starting at 10 p.m. EST on Spike, as well as in Spanish language on mun2. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.com, with doors to event opening at 6:30pm EST.

“When Daniel went down with his injury, I reached out to Shahbulat and his manager to see if he was ready for this fight, and without hesitation his answer was yes,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “After watching Shahbulat’s run through our last tournament, I couldn’t think of a better fight to end our season than Curran-Shahbulat on April 4th.”

After a hand injury forced Daniel Straus off the card, Shamhalaev steps in after collecting three knockout victories en route to a $100,000 Tournament prize and a title shot against the top ranked Curran. Armed with a devastating right hand and some of the quickest hands in the sport, “The Assassin” is ready for a quick turnaround April 4th.

“All the work I’ve put in has been for this moment, and I couldn’t be happier to give all the Atlantic City fans a show on April 4th,” Shahbulat said. “Pat Curran is a really tough competitor, but I know what I have to do to get the belt and become Bellator’s new Featherweight Champion.”

Widely regarded as one of the top two  featherweights in the world, Curran brings a dominating 18-4 record into his latest title defense, including victories over Patricio Pitbull, Marlon Sandro, Roger Huerta, and Mike Ricci. While the reigning Bellator Champ had his original sights set on Straus, Curran is well aware of the challenges at hand April 4th with Shamhalaev.

“He’s a great counter striker, as am I, and I see a lot of openings with Shabulat,” Curran said. “Shabulat brings one punch knockout power, and with my style, it’s going to be a swing for fences fight. This is my second fight this season, and I couldn’t ask for more. I love staying active, and Bellator has provided that for me.”

The night will also feature the return of New York native and former Bellator Welterweight World Champion as Lyman Good battles Renzo Gracie product and fellow New Yorker Dante Rivera. Both have strong followings in the Tri-State area and should have a strong show of support inside Revel.

Currently ranked as the world’s top ranked 125 pound female fighter, Jessica “Evil” Eye returns to the Bellator cage when she takes on Tiger Schulmann’s own Munah Holland on April 4th live on Spike TV. Eye is coming off the biggest win of her young career with a dominating performance over Zoila Gurgel and is looking to keep the momentum with another victory.

“As a woman in this sport you’re given very little, so that’s why when I fight we always need to deliver,” Eye said. “I think Munah is a great fighter and have always admired her striking ability, but I won’t let my admiration stand in front of my determination. This is my golden year, and this fight is just the beginning.”

The preliminary card will be highlighted with a middleweight showdown between New Jersey star Tom DeBlass and New York native Carlos Brooks as the two look to collect their first Bellator victory. After announcing his retirement in 2012, DeBlass has returned to the cage and will make his highly anticipated return April 4th inside Revel.

“I’m very excited to be fighting for Bellator right in my backyard,” DeBlass said. “All of my friends, family, students, and many fans will get to see me live. I’m coming back and making a statement, you can count on that.”

The full card for Bellator MMA from Revel on April 4th is below:

MAIN CARD:

Bellator Featherweight World Title Fight: Pat Curran vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev

Bellator Middleweight Tournament Finals: TBD vs. TBD

Women’s Feature Fight: Jessica Eye vs. Munah Holland

Welterweight Feature Fight: Lyman Good vs. Dante Rivera

 

PRELIMINARY CARD:

Catchweight Feature Fight (140 lbs.): Jimmie Riveravs. Brian Kelleher

Welterweight Feature Fight: Sam Oropeza vs. Shedrick Goodridge

Lightweight Feature Fight: Phillipe Nover vs. Darrell Horcher

Middleweight Feature Fight: Tom DeBlass vs. Carlos Brooks

Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Liam McGeary vs. Anton Talamantes

Featherweight Feature Fight: Will Martinez vs. Michael Phillips

Featherweight Feature Fight: Brylan Van Artsdalen vs. Brett Martinez

(PRESS RELEASE) Newport Beach, CA. – All eyes will be on Bellator March 21st as the Lightweight and Welterweight Tournaments are decided as submission ace and Polish phenom Marcin Held takes on Dave Jansen in the long awaited $100,000 Lightweight Tournament Final, while the final two Season 8 Welterweight participants square off for their guaranteed title shot, live on Spike TV.

Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at TheColisee.com, the Androscoggin Bank Colisee Box Office or by phone by dialing 207-783-2009. Tickets range from $40-$125. The event will broadcast LIVE starting at 10 p.m. EST on Spike, as well as in Spanish language on mun2. The preliminary card will be streamed LIVE and FREE on Spike.com starting at 7:30 p.m. EST.

Only 20 and holding an impressive 15-2 record, polish phenom Marcin Held stormed through the opening rounds of the lightweight tournament, collecting explosive victories over Murad Machaev and longtime MMA veteran Rich Clementi. Known across the MMA landscape as one of the top submission artists in the sport, Held is a victory away from capturing his first Bellator Tournament crown and a guaranteed title shot.

For Jansen, the charismatic lightweight enters the Bellator Finals riding a five fight win streak and is fully prepared for the test that awaits him on March 21st, in what undoubtedly be the biggest fight of his career.

“I’ve had a lot of time to work on my game plan and really focus on this fight on March 21st,” Jansen said. “Marcin has the total package when it comes to submissions, so I know what I need to focus on to win this fight, and get a shot at the Bellator title.”

The night will also feature a collection of heavyweights, as Brett “Da Grim” Rogers returns to the Bellator cage to take on Eric Prindle. After suffering a broken arm in his fight with eventual Bellator Heavyweight Champion Alexander Volkov, Rogers is ready for a shot at redemption on March 21st.

“I am looking forward to getting back in the Bellator cage and a chance to fight on Spike TV,” Rogers said. “In my last fight I broke my forearm but I am fully recovered, training at American Top Team and this time the only thing breaking will be my opponent.  Now that I am at ATT I am a new and smarter fighter.”

Longtime veteran Travis Wiuff also returns, this time at heavyweight to battle Colorado native Ryan Martinez. Previously fighting at heavyweight, Wiuff is now at his more natural weight, and looking to continue his illustrious career that has seen him compile an astonishing 68-16 record.

The preliminaries will be headlined by Maine native and fan favorite Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis taking on Waachiim Spiritwolf in a welterweight affair. Davis has found a home in Bellator, and looking to put on a show against Spiritwolf in his promotional debut.

“Having the chance to fight for a promotion like Bellator in front of my friends, family and fans is a dream come true,” Davis said. “It’s great to find a new home and fight for one of the biggest promotions in the world.”

The full card for Bellator MMA from Lewiston, Maine can be found below:

MAIN CARD:

Lightweight Tournament Finals Fight: Dave Jansen vs. Marcin Held

Welterweight Tournament Finals Fight: TBD vs. TBD

Heavyweight Feature Fight: Ryan Martinez vs. Travis Wiuff

Heavyweight Feature Fight: Brett Rogers vs. Eric Prindle

 

PRELIMINARY CARD:

Welterweight Feature Fight: Waachiim Spiritwolf vs. Marcus Davis

Featherweight Feature Fight: Vince Murdock vs. John Raio

Welterweight Feature Fight: Ryan Sanders vs. Michael Page

Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Brent Dillingham vs. Mike Mucitelli

Middleweight Feature Fight: Luc Bondole vs. Joe Pacheco

Middleweight Feature Fight: Jason Butcher vs. Jack Hermansson

Middleweight Feature Fight: Dave Vitkay vs. Jesse Peterson

Lightweight Feature Fight: Jesse Erickson vs. Jon Lemke